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Poster: simon c Date: Aug 13, 2003 5:23am
Forum: freecache Subject: freecache vs. bittorrent

So I just wanted to ask some questions about Freecache compared to BitTorrent, and ponder abstractly about some kind of hybrid.

In the Freecache FAQ it says that:


Why not BitTorrent?

BitTorrent is good and similar to FreeCache in that it balances download "horizontically". BitTorrent uses other BitTorrent clients for this balancing; these clients often become un-available after a particular file is not popular anymore. The FreeCache system utilizes permanent FreeCaches that don't go away (although particular files get flushed out after a while).


I don't think this entirely addresses the question of why BitTorrent works so well. I see Freecache more as a dynamic mirror solution for a very large collection of files. It's very clever and unique in that context - for a massive amount of files like the Archive has, it's a very smart solution to have Freecache sending out popular ones to faster mirrors.

Btw, it would be good if something on the website end could detect a likely faster-download-than-normal Freecached file and add that information somewhere, though - something like a 'Freecache' icon, or a special category of 'Freecached!' files that's browsable as a group, with links to the actual Archive info pages (I know you can see the actual files that have been cached elsewhere right now, but you have no direct info on them apart from the file name.)

But clearly, what BitTorrent has is added bandwidth from outside conventional file mirrors. By using the bandwidth of the person downloading to upload at the same time, you get a lot of extra bandwidth, especially if those downloading large files are on fast connections.

The reason it's a little more difficult to get Freecache mirrors is that people just aren't that interested in doing something for free. Conversely, the reason it's simple to get larger amount of 'BitTorrent mirrors' is that, in order to get a BitTorrent file, you mandatorily are required to mirror that file to other users during the process of downloading. But the mirrors are limited to the amount of time someone is downloading. People get something while (being made to!) give something back.

But with a massive amount of files (like the Archive has!), this means there may be a relatively small amount of downloaders per file. This means that BitTorrent may be at a big disadvantage - it only works great with large amounts of downloaders simultaneously grabbing the same file.

So.. is there any way Freecache can also use the downloader's bandwidth, as BitTorrent does? Is there any opportunity for some kind of hybrid/alternative here, perhaps with dynamic torrent-ing of the most popular files?

Obviously, BitTorrent success will live and die with popularity of the individual file, though. I still like the idea of Torrent-ing the top 10 downloads (especially in etree) and encouraging people to jump on, see if it helps out overall - people can still grab from the rest of the site.

Anyhow, I could go on, and on, and on.. thoughts?

EDIT: Also wanted to acknowledge that IAFM could have a significant part to play in all this, of course. I think the thing that REALLY makes BitTorrent revolutionary is that you _HAVE_ to upload while you're in the process of downloading. Is there any way a Freecache/IAFM hybrid could do something clever like this?

This post was modified by simon c on 2003-08-13 12:23:13

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Poster: BoredNL Date: Sep 3, 2004 6:28pm
Forum: freecache Subject: Re: freecache vs. bittorrent

I think that if a bittorrent could be set up to have all of the freecache mirrors/downloaders all being tracked by the tracker, then having a person download only from the people who they are closest to.. while uploading to those who they are close to..

Get the idea? seems like a good idea to me. The best of both worlds. :)

And if there are any iso files.. slip jigdo in there somehow.. lol

This post was modified by BoredNL on 2004-09-04 01:28:14